THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS CHANGING:
The internet has changed the music business. Music lovers today are downloading mp3s in ever increasing numbers. While internet downloads are rising, CD sales are slipping and this trend is likely to continue. Like it or not, the internet is becoming a bigger and bigger player in the music world.
THE GOOD NEWS:
There’s no need to design your own website and pay a server to store it. You can upload your music to dozens of sites (and growing) and pay nothing. Yes, it’s all free. The world can hear your music at very little cost to you.
I’m assuming you have song demos in the mp3 file format. (mp3 is the internet standard file format for music) If not, there are a few free mp3 rippers available that will convert your CD demos to the mp3 format; mp3 is available in low quality (fast download) and high quality (slower download). Today with faster internet speeds available, I would advise the better quality.
You can upload these mp3s to numerous free sites: MySpace, SoundClick, AloneTone, YouMusic, are just a few of the sites that will take your mp3 music demos and store them for you. An internet search will give you many more addresses to check out. Imagine, free internet sites that you, your friends, your relatives can visit and listen to your music.
Set up a blog; WordPress is one of the more popular free blogging sites on the internet. Tell the world about your songs through your blog.
THE BAD NEWS:
Convincing people to come to your site and download your music is not going to be easy. The competition is intense; and sometimes it seems every second person on the planet is a songwriter, singer or musician. How do you and your songs stand out in cyber land where thousands of people are trying to sell their music?
Unless you are the sibling of a celebrity, or have the money for a slick media campaign, you probably will start at the bottom. Thousands of songwriters, singers, and bands are flooding the internet with their music. Where do you start? Begin with your family, your friends, co-workers, schoolmates, anyone and everyone in your life and start building a base. Join forums, blogs, and network and continue to build a collection of people that go to your site and hopefully download your music. Yes, this will be an awesome, time-consuming task.
One of the drawbacks in promoting your music is the time lost in actually creating music. So, there might come a time to start thinking of hiring a party to do this. For beginners I would not suggest it, but if you have the talent and the right stuff (and you are absolutely sure of this) hiring a publicity agent might be an alternative.
I have a friend (a famous sound engineer) that says the $5000 he spent on a publicity agent was the best money he ever spent. I’m sure there are many examples of the opposite, so exercise extreme caution here.
INTERNET SITES THAT PAY YOU FOR YOUR MUSIC:
One site that comes to mind is: AudioSparx.com. If they accept you (and they do reject submissions they believe are not sellable) they will try to lease your music to film companies, ad agencies, and radio/television producers at no start-up costs. Only when and if your songs make money do they take a percentage. The percentage is pretty steep but when you consider the advertising costs they pay for their site traffic (that is not coming out of your pocket) and no upfront cost, it’s not a bad deal for those songs you have just hanging around collecting dust.
Just recently I signed: ‘My Happy Birthday Song’ through AudioSparx for a local television commercial in Minneapolis, MN. celebrating the late Harmon Killebrew’s birthday. The song will just be used for a few seconds in the background; not a lot of money but hey, I wasn’t doing anything with that song anyway.
We devote a page to songwriting contests and it’s something to think about. Sending an mp3 and lyrics via e-mail has made it so much easier to enter these contests and if you are confident in your songs, or just want a critique by industry professionals, it may be worthwhile.